The newest data from RealtyTrac reflect a sharp drop in U.S. foreclosure filings in September, which was the 36th consecutive month of year-over-year declines. According to the report, 131,232 homes nationwide were facing a default notice, auction sale, or bank seizure last month -- 27 percent fewer than in September 2012.
For the third quarter, meanwhile, foreclosure volume narrowed by 29 percent on an annual basis. "The September and third-quarter foreclosure numbers show a housing market that is haltingly returning to health," commented RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist. However, he added, "while foreclosures are clearly becoming fewer and farther between in most markets, the increasing time it takes to foreclose is holding back a more robust and sustainable recovery."
Foreclosure starts and bank repossessions were down significantly year over year as well -- by 39 percent and 24 percent, respectively -- but Blomquist noted that some distressed borrowers "are still susceptible to falling into foreclosure." That is especially true in states such as Maryland, Oregon, and New Jersey -- which saw foreclosure starts climb by a respective 259 percent, 252 percent, and 53 percent.